Rotterdam, the biggest grain port in Europe, has a Grain Warehouse again. This fine and efficient structure occupies a site on Posthoornstraat, at the corner of Wijnhaven, where the Grain Warehouse shares a modern facade with the ICI building, which has completed a recent extension at the rear. (…) With understandable pride, this morning the occupants presented their new Grain Warehouse to the Dutch press. They expressed their great satisfaction that their new base has been built in the city centre, close to the Stock Exchange.
‘A building worthy of a city like Rotterdam.’ That’s what they called the Grain Warehouse. And they proudly mention that the port of Rotterdam handled five million tons of grain last year. That’s 1.2 million more than in 1955!
Het Vrĳe Volk, 27 February 1957
No fragmented facade
Located close to the site of the pre-war warehouse, which was built in 1914 by the well-known Rotterdam architect Michiel Brinkman, the Grain Warehouse on Wijnhaven was designed by Kees Elffers (1898-1987), who worked as a junior draughtsman on the old building at Brinkman’s office. He landed the opportunity to design the new building after the war. The committee of grain traders started to convene in 1872 at the Stock Exchange, but it later acquired a complex of properties on Wijnhaven, Bierstraat and Wijnbrugstraat. Besides the Committee, the construction partners included grain trader Granaria, the Internationale Controle Maatschappij (ICM), the Chr. de Vries company and the Jean Delvaux trading company. Moreover, the building contained an extension to the adjacent ICI Building. The Department of City Development and Reconstruction asked Elffers to incorporate that extension into the Grain Warehouse to prevent the creation of a fragmented facade.
The various construction partners had their offices on separate floors. The ICM and the Committee also had laboratories for testing grain samples. The results of those tests were used in arbitration, one of the Committee’s activities since 1880. The arbitration rooms were situated beside the laboratories. The top floor contained a caretaker’s home.
The Wijnhaven facade is a regular grid of exposed concrete columns and teak window frames. The base of the building and the corner of Wijnhaven and Posthoornstraat are faced in precast concrete panels. Marking the entrance is a vertical row of balconies and a corner solution featuring four sculptures by the Rotterdam sculptor Han Rehm (1908-1970). His reliefs depict various stages in harvesting grain: a farmer threshing grain, a sheaf of grain, a grain elevator and a mill. The hall featured a mural by Krijn van Dijke (1910-1980), depicting a ship unloading its cargo into a silo through an elevator.
Like the ICI-complex next door, the Grain Warehouse has been home to the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences since 2008. The interior has been renovated.